The second leg of Canada’s Triple Crown is set for tomorrow evening at Fort Erie, and once again, the filly looks primed to beat the boys. Wonder Gadot, the conquering superhero of the Queen’s Plate will face only five 3-year-old males going 1 3/16 miles in the 83rd running of the Prince of Wales Stakes. A sparkling 4 3/4 -length winner of the first leg, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro looms an overwhelming favorite as the Canadian Triple Crown moves from the synthetic surface of Woodbine to the dirt course at Fort Erie.
Twice defeated by America’s top three-year-old filly, including an excellent runner-up performance in the Kentucky Oaks, Wonder Gadot probably lost all chance at an Eclipse Award in the United States, as Monomoy Girl once again proved untouchable in Saturday’s Coaching Club American Oaks, but another championship north of the border looks to be hers for the taking.
Certainly her big win in the Queen’s Plate will go a long way in adding the 3yo filly Sovereign Award to the one Wonder Gadot won last year as a juvenile filly, but sweeping the first two legs of Canada’s Triple Crown would give her a big leg up on the race for Horse of the Year in her native land.
Unlike Tuesday’s engagement, in the Queen’s Plate, Wonder Gadot was part of a large group of 16. Prominent throughout, the Mark Casse trained, and Gary Barber owned filly took over as the field turned for home, and from there she exuded class as she eased away from the 15 chasing her home.
After the important victory, her Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez stated that he believed the addition of blinkers was a factor in Wonder Gadot showing her best on the most prestigious race of the Canadian racing calendar. Despite her standing as one of the top three-year-old fillies in the world, the dark bay filly had taken a bit of a losing streak into the Queen’s Plate.
Still, six consecutive losses, between New York’s Demoiselle Stakes late last year, and the Queen’s Plate did not prevent her from compiling an excellent record of 12-4-4-3 while running in 11 consecutive stakes races since winning her career debut. Many of those losses came by narrow fashion, while always against top competition.
Wonder Gadot also holds the distinction of being graded stakes proven on dirt, turf, and synthetics. As she now looks to start a winning streak, she will once again don the blinkers and have Johnny V in the saddle for the year’s signature event at Fort Erie.
Breaking from the rail in the Prince of Wales, Wonder Gadot will likely be an overwhelming choice with the bettors. If she is indeed to become the first Queen’s Plate winner to also go on and win the Prince of Wales Stakes since Wando did 15 years ago, she will once again do it at the expense of Aheadbyacentury and Cooler Mike. Both were let go at big odds in the Queen’s Plate, but they outran their expectations finishing second and third respectively.
The six horse field for the $400,000 race, restricted to Canadian-breds, will be rounded out by Home Base, a winner on the dirt at both Keeneland and Churchill Downs; Eskiminzin, twice a stakes winner while sprinting at Woodbine; and Absolution, sixth in the Plate Trial in his second start of the year.
You may remember that Wando was the last horse to sweep the Canadian Triple Crown back in 2003, but even with another victory tomorrow evening, it is unlikely that Wonder Gadot will have the opportunity to join that fraternity. Instead her connections have the classy filly pointed for Saratoga’s Grade 1 Alabama Stakes next month.
Photo of Wonder Gadot courtesy of Michael Burns